Opinion: Turning the corner
Last Tuesday, Jan. 31, I was at Basehor-Linwood High School covering the girls basketball game versus Immaculata, when one of the announcers grabbed the microphone and gave everyone good news: the boys team had narrowly defeated the Raiders on the road.
After the Lady 'Cats took care of their own business that night, I thought to myself, "Gee, both teams won, what a good night for Basehor-Linwood basketball."
Three days later it happened again, and I got to see both games with my own eyes.
The Lady Bobcats blew out Perry-Lecompton and the boys survived another close game.
So that's four in a row, I thought with a smile.
Finally, on Tuesday, the girls once again had a game well in hand and the announcer got back on the microphone. The boys had gone on the road to play a quality Bishop Ward team, had put up 74 points, and had won again.
OK, at that point I was a little suspicious that perhaps I had slipped into an alternate dimension. I mean absolutely no offense to the school's past athletes, but this sort of constant winning just hasn't happened at BLHS in a while.
A boys team that hadn't managed a winning streak in three years suddenly has won three in a row, all of them on the road, no less.
Everyone knew that the girls team was loaded with talent, but the last few weeks they've been about as good as anyone in the area. They've won three in a row and mostly have made it look easy. None of the games have even been close.
The six-game winning streak at BLHS has coincided with a five-game streak by one of my other favorite teams, those good old Jayhawks from the University of Kansas.
Recently, one of the local sportswriters said he thinks the Jayhawks will be one of the best teams in the country this March because they have great "growth potential."
His theory is that the teams that are at the top of the rankings right now are probably as good as they're going to get. For instance Duke, which relies heavily on seniors like J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams.
Redick and Williams are great, but they've developed about as much as they're going to. As the season wears on their skills will remain static, or even slightly decline as fatigue sets in.
The Jayhawks, on the other hand, rely mostly on young players. Their top seven scorers are freshmen and sophomores, who are all going to get better as the season goes on and they get more games under their belts.
The same idea of "growth potential" applies to the BLHS basketball teams. The girls team has no seniors, meaning most of its talent is young and still developing, getting better every game.
The boys team has three seniors, but all of them are first-year varsity players. They're just getting comfortable now and coming into their own. The same is true for most of the rest of the team.
As these teams have gotten more experience, the season has become more exciting. Both coaches would probably agree that their teams still have a long way to go, but it's worth noting how far they've already come.